In this weeks author spotlight, we delve into the works of Al Halsey, author of, Hellgate, Montana, a western paranormal thriller
What is your book about?
There are more than just demons and witches that haunt the daylight and the dark.
The Roman Catholic Church found men willing to take on the powers of darkness and called them The Retributors–men with a pure soul, no regrets, and no designs on a long life.
Retributor Jeremiah Brandt headed for the most supernaturally and unnaturally infected place on the frontier–the bright blue Montana Territory sky of the Hellgate Valley. The longer he stays the more he thinks of it more of than just a place to collect bounties–it’s home. He wasn’t looking to lose his heart or his life, he just wanted to do his job in relative peace.
You mess with Jeremiah Brandt you are asking for a whole heap of trouble. If you are an unnatural messing with Jeremiah Brandt, you’re aiming for more trouble than you can handle in your entire immortal life.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love Montana, and the Missoula area inspires me. The people, the land, the beauty of the countryside. It is a wonderful place filled with history from recent memory. The book is meant to be a tribute to the Hellgate Valley.
Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
The book revolves around Jeremiah Brandt, a hard drinking Baptist who was trained by the Catholic Church to hunt unnatural creatures and collect bounties on them. The idea that he is the intersection of so many different religions, mythology, and forbidden knowledge and that he functions on the edge attracts me to him.
I put a lot of thought and research into every character: even if a character is in the story for one paragraph, I may have spent a good deal of time thinking and researching them. Every character has a reason and purpose, although 1st Sergeant Sid Buford Lowther of the Illinois 157nth Cavalry, grates on my nerves. He’s supposed to.
What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
I have always been in love with horror, suspense, and the paranormal. H.P. Lovecraft is my favourite horror writer. I have several more books available: Mists of the Miskatonic is my tribute to Lovecraft. Kinemortophobia: Zombie Dreams for Sleepless Nights is a collection of short stories written with my long-time friend John Reed. Grave Conversations is a book of dark poetry. I have short stories in several anthologies, available on Amazon.
My first fantasy novel Empires of the Dead: Son of the Sea will be out in the next month, and Gorillas with Scissors Press will be publishing the first in my series The Chronicles of Dorian Christianson: Nephilim soon.
Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
This is the first of three, and all are written. The second is Retributor: Hellgate, Montana Book 2 and is out, also published by Permuted Press. The third is Salt Lake City: Hellgate, Montana Book 3 and will be out soon.
Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
Working with children with emotional and behavioural problems for almost thirty years has been very stressful, and writing is one of my releases. Peter J. Wacks inspired me as a role model of a writer. When I first started writing, Peter would always answer my questions, no matter how silly. I respect the selflessness he showed. I doubt he would remember me, but I remember his kindness every time I sit at the keyboard. I try to help every starting author I can and share my thimbleful of knowledge with them, partly because of him.
Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
All of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, but The Call of Cthulhu is my personal favourite.
Have you written other books we should know about?
If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
Never quit, keep working hard, and learn from your mistakes. Never give up.
Where can we find out more about you?